7 February, Wednesday – Inside Out

7 February 

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1 Kings 10:1-10

The fame of Solomon having reached the queen of Sheba… she came to test him with difficult questions. She brought immense riches to Jerusalem with her, camels laden with spices, great quantities of gold, and precious stones. On coming to Solomon, she opened her mind freely to him; and Solomon had an answer for all her questions, not one of them was too obscure for the king to expound. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon, the palace he had built, the food at his table, the accommodation for his officials, the organisation of his staff and the way they were dressed, his cup-bearers, and the holocausts he offered in the Temple of the Lord, it left her breathless, and she said to the king, ‘What I heard in my own country about you and your wisdom was true, then! Until I came and saw it with my own eyes I could not believe what they told me, but clearly they told me less than half: for wisdom and prosperity you surpass the report I heard. How happy your wives are! How happy are these servants of yours who wait on you always and hear your wisdom! Blessed be the Lord your God who has granted you his favour, setting you on the throne of Israel! Because of the Lord’s everlasting love for Israel, he has made you king to deal out law and justice.’ And she presented the king with a hundred and twenty talents of gold and great quantities of spices and precious stones; no such wealth of spices ever came again as those given to King Solomon by the queen of Sheba.

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Mark 7:14-23

Jesus called the people to him and said, ‘Listen to me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that goes into a man from outside can make him unclean; it is the things that come out of a man that make him unclean. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this.’

When he had gone back into the house, away from the crowd, his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, ‘Do you not understand either? Can you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot make him unclean, because it does not go into his heart but through his stomach and passes out into the sewer?’ (Thus he pronounced all foods clean.) And he went on, ‘It is what comes out of a man that makes him unclean. For it is from within, from men’s hearts, that evil intentions emerge: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, avarice, malice, deceit, indecency, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within and make a man unclean.’

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…it is what comes out of man that makes him unclean…

I always have this habit of observing people from time to time. In my mind, I judge them based on their actions and my experiences with them. I describe their attitudes as how they show them to people. If I observe that they do good things, I would judge them as having a kind heart. If they do otherwise, I would judge them as having a wicked heart.

The gospel today can confirm the statement, “It is what we do that defines who we are.” As we have learned from yesterday’s gospel, the Pharisees and the Jews focus more on traditions and practices. One example is that they need to clean first before eating; thereby, judging Jesus’ disciples for eating with unclean hands.

The gospel today signifies that eating with unclean hands does not make a person a sinner. As Jesus says, “Nothing that goes from the outside can make him unclean.” Though in our present days, there are people who really are very meticulous when it comes to washing hands thoroughly before eating. But food does not influence the state of our heart. What is in our hearts shows our spiritual life. Our heart, our conscience is the start of all our actions. Jesus stated that, “it is from within that evil intentions emerged.”

We are humans and we make mistakes. We make decisions that are sometimes morally inappropriate. Those decisions go with our gift of free will. When we exercise our free will, let us examine our conscience. Is it the right thing to do? Or is it the wrong thing to do? Our decisions should not solely be based on us alone. We need to seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit for us to make a better decision. We live a very busy life, but I believe somewhere in between, we can make time to speak to God. Have time to pray and examine how we are living our life. What are our priorities? Do we focus more on looking good than doing good?

(Today’s Oxygen by Beryl Baterina)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please guide us so that our words and actions will only be in accordance to your will. Please help us to let Jesus live in our hearts forever.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Father God, for this gift of life. Thank You for our families and friends who help us to be closer to You.

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